Fleischer, Carl Gustav.

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Fleischer, Carl Gustav.

Fleischer, Carl Gustav, born 28-12-1883, in the village of Bjørnør, in Norway,  the son of a Lutheran pastor, Carl Edvard Fleischer and his wife Johanne Sofie Sivertsdatter Fergstad. Carl had one brother later bishop Andreas Fleischer. Andreas was a Norwegian theologian, missionary to China, and Lutheran Bishop. He died in the village of Vikedal in Rogaland county on 23-11-1957, age 79, in Vikedal, Norway.

After the death of his father, Carl Fleischer moved with his mother and grew up in Trondheim. He followed his education at the Norwegian Military Academy  and graduated there as one of the best students in 1905. Twelve years later Fleischer was appointed Captain. Carl Gustav Fleischer married Antonie “Toni” Charlotte Hygen (1888–1947) in 1919 in Kristiania. In his spare time Fleischer enjoyed watercolor painting and trout fishing. Between 1919 and 1923 he served as a staff officer and during his stay in Nord-Norge he concentrated on writing military manuals. In 1930 the promotion followed to Major and four years later to Colonel. On the eve of World War II he was appointed Major General. When the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland  broke out in 1939, Fleischer pleaded with the Norwegian government to prepare the soldiers in Nord-Norge for a possible conflict. With the start of Operation Weserübung he was appointed as commander of the Norwegian troops in Nord-Norge.  Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany’s assault on Denmark and Norway during  World War II and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign. The name comes from the German for Operation Weser- Exercise (Unternehmen Weserübung), the Weser being a German river. In the early morning of 09-04-1940 (Wesertag; “Weser Day”), Germany invaded Denmark and Norway,When the war actually broke out, Fleischer got stuck in Vadsø and eventually managed to travel to Tromsø from where he could command his troops.

General Władysław Eugeniusz Sikorski   decorates the Commander-in-Chief of the Norwegian Army, General Karl Gustav Fleischer, with the Order Virtuti Militari, Tentsmuir (Scotland), 8 December 1940


As commander of the sixth division  he was closely involved in the Allied recapture of Narvik  on 28-05-1940. The battle was the first allied victory of World War.II. When the battle for France began, the allied task force was removed from Norway. Without the help of the Allies, the Norwegians stood alone and could not keep their positions. The Norwegian capitulation was signed on June 9 and Fleischer was asked to follow in exile with King Haakon VII    and the Norwegian cabinet after being appointed commander of the Free Norwegian Army. He died at the age of 85 on 21-09-1957, after having reigned for nearly 52 years. He was succeeded by his only son, Olav V.


Before leaving for Canada Fleischer inspected the Norwegian garrison on the distant Norwegian island Jan Mayen in the Atlantic Ocean.  The General concluded that the garrison was too small to defend anything more than the midsection of the island, leaving several landing beaches open to the Germans during the relatively calm summer months. Based on his observations Fleischer reported that the garrison should be reinforced during the summer, a small garrison being sufficient during winter. He also inspected the Norwegian forces based on Iceland. 

Exile Fleischer was able to set up a Norwegian Infantry Brigade that was stationed in Dumfries, Scotland. Because of his stubborn attitude and the refusal to compromise, he became inmate with the Norwegian government in exile. During his stay in the United Kingdom he received several awards, including the French Croix de guerre. Because of his attitude he was passed by Johan Nygaardsvold  as commander-in-chief of the Norwegian army that the Commander in Chief of the Norwegian Armed Forces   Wilhelm von Tangen Hansteen  obtained. Because of this, Fleischer filed his resignation. Johan Nygaardsvold was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party who served as Prime Minister of Norway from 1935 to 1945. Wilhelm von Tangen Hansteen retired from the army on 1966 and died on 06-09-1980 in Oslo.

Death and burial ground of Fleischer, Carl Gustav.


The cabinet appointed Fleischer as the commander of the Norwegian army in Canada and on 1 December he was appointed military attaché of the Norwegians in Washington D.C .. An appointment he took as a humiliation. That was too much to swallow for him when he took his life on December 19 of that year by shooting his gun at his heart. When his ashes were brought to Norway after the war, he was refused a state funeral and his funeral was only attended by the King and the crown prince. The Norwegian Workers’ Party and Cabinet were not present at the unveiling of his monument in Harstad. Again, the king was the only dignitary who was present. General Fleischer died 19-12-1942, age 58, in Ottawa, Canada and is buried on the Our Saviour’s Orthodox Church, formerly the chapel Southern section, in Oslo, Norway


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